Quotes & Excerpts

Illiteracy for Social Change

Home ~ News Index Articles (see Global Management System)

From Susan O'Donnell (16 Feb 1998): This was one of my first clues that there was a left-wing conspiracy at work behind the scenes in education: A few years ago I was attending a farewell gathering for a retiring school board member. I had just read the results of that Barbara Foorman study that showed that many students did a lot better with phonics instruction. Thus, when I saw a man who was a professor of education at UC Berkeley (also, an ex-board member himself), I asked him if his School of Education would start incorporating some phonics.

He said, "Oh, no, we don't believe in phonics!"

We got in a little back and forth argument about research; he claimed there was research to support whole language. Finally, he leaned toward me and, in a lower and, yes, conspiratorial voice he said to me, "You know, Susan, social change!"

To this day, I remain baffled about how he thinks any kind of positive social change could possibly occur because of increased illiteracy.

The Moscow Declaration: "Ministers emphasized the importance of equitable access to quality education at all levels, underlining that excellence and equity should be mutually reinforcing.... [But since the emphasis is on outcome rather than opportunity, a true focus on excellence would result in inequality, for some students will work harder than others]

     "... Education is critically important for creating an inclusive society... helping all people to adapt to change.... Ministers underlined the importance of information and communication technologies (ICTs)....

      "...develop comprehensive systems of lifelong learning, from early childhood through adulthood....

      "...promote social and intercultural skills, and understanding of and respect for the values and the history of other cultures and societies.... [Would all cultures and values be considered equally good?]

     "..more rapid integration of immigrants and migrants into the host nation's society can be facilitated by improving mutual understanding of foreign qualifications....

      "...achieve the goals of the Education for All (EFA) agenda. This includes cross-sector approaches, as well as ... triangular modalities of cooperation (North-South-South)....

     "G8 Ministers of Education appreciated the participation of representatives from Brazil, China, India, Kazakhstan, Mexico, South Africa, the OECD, UNESCO and the World Bank in their discussions." See The International Agenda and Trading U.S. Rights for UN Rules


See The Newest Heresy of the NAR: Orality


Review of Walter J. Ong's Orality and Literacy: "Walter J. Ong, born in 1912, received his B.A. from Rockhurst College in 1933, his M. A. from St. Louis University in1941, and his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1955. He joined the faculty of St. Louis University as a professor of English and French in1959, and later became a professor of Humanities in Psychiatry in1970, holding all three positions until his retirement. .... Ong pulls together two decades of work ... on the differences between primary oral cultures, those that do not have a system of writing, and chirographic (i.e., writing) cultures to look at how the shift from an oral-based stage of consciousness to one dominated by writing and print changes the way we humans think. ...

     "In addition to pinpointing fundamental differences in the thought processes of the two types of culture, he comments on the current emergence in Western society of what he calls a second orality. This second orality, dominated by electronic modes of communication (e.g., television and telephones), incorporates elements from both the chirographic mode and the orality mode which has been subordinant for some time."


Eric A. Havelock 1903Ė1988: "...Havelock (June 3, 1903 Ė April 4, 1988) was... a professor at the University of Toronto and was active in the academic milieu of the Canadian socialist movement during the 1930s. In the 1960s and 1970s, he served as chair of the classics departments at both Harvard and Yale.... He and Walter J. Ong (who was himself strongly influenced by Havelock) essentially founded the amorphous field that studies transitions from orality to literacy... his work was crucial for Marshall McLuhan's media theory....

     "In 1931, after Toronto police had blocked a public meeting by an organization the police claimed was associated with communists, he and Underhill wrote a public letter of protest, calling the action 'short-sighted, inexpedient, and intolerable.'... Though the League for Social Reconstruction began as more of a discussion group than a political party, it became a force in Canadian politics by the mid-1930s.

     "After Havelock joined the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, along with several other members of the League, he was pressured by his superiors at the University to curtail his political activity.He did not, continuing to act as an ally and occasional spokesman for Underhill and other leftist professors....

     "It is this larger point about the differences between oral and literate culture that represents Havelock's most influential contribution. Walter J. Ong, for example, in assessing the significance of non-oral communication in an oral culture, cites Havelock's observation that scientific categories, which are necessary not only for the natural sciences but also for historical and philosophical analysis, depend on writing."


Orality and Postmodern Evangelism

"Influencing the body of Christ to make disciples of all oral learners"


When you read the two links below, remember that through the last four centuries, faithful Christian missionaries have successfully shared the gospel with thousands of seekers in oral cultures -- relying (not on sophisticated methodology but) only on the Holy Spirit and God's love. See Missionary Stories and The Hand of God in History


International Orality Network: "...missions executives will gather to explore how to breakthrough an enormous barrier which is preventing the Church from fulfilling the Great Commission. Decision makers and key executives can influence their organizations to reach the four billion people who have missed out on the good news because they canít, donít or wonít read. This is a one-time meeting to talk strategy with people who are successfully communicating with oral learners and an opportunity to learn how to implement these methodologies in your organization. The consultation will be Sept. 25-27, 2007 at the Campus Crusade for Christ Headquarters, 100 Lake Hart, Orlando FL 32832-0100."


When Literates Stop Reading: "...two-thirds of the world's people can't, won't, or don't read and write. The bulk of this paper has focused on those who can't. This part will focus on those who don't. These are those who choose to learn by oral methods as opposed to literate ones, in spite of their literacy. These people are known as secondary oral learners... 'people who have become literate because of their job or schooling, but prefer to be entertained, learn and communicate by oral means.'

     "Walter Ong, father of the modern orality movement, says, 'I style the orality of a culture totally untouched by writing or print, 'primary orality.' It is 'primary' by contrast with the 'secondary orality' of present-day high-technology culture, in which a new orality is sustained by telephone, radio, television and other electronic devices that depend for their existence and functioning on writing and print.'...

      "Why is it important to do this? A 2004 study reported that 'literary reading in America is not only declining rapidly among all groups, but the rate of decline has accelerated, especially among the young.' This reflects a '"massive shift toward electronic media for entertainment and information.'"

| Home | Armor of God | Persecution | His Word | Articles | Books | Links |